Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Book Tour: Brigham Vaughn's Partners Tour, Book 2 in the Equals series with GiveAway

Cover design is a critical part of book publishing.  When I first began self-publishing, I was pretty apprehensive.  I have a photography background, I’ve taken plenty of art classes, and I know how to use the software, but actually making a cover is another matter entirely.  I decided that I would give it a shot, and if I couldn’t make something I was satisfied with, I’d hire someone to do it for me.

The first one was difficult but in the end I was pleased with it.  Looking back, I can see things I would do differently now, but overall, I’m still quite happy with it.  There has been a clear improvement in skill from cover to cover however.  I can honestly say that the covers for Equals and Partners are some of my favorites.  I think they capture the feel of the story and each element combines to entice the reader.  After all, that’s the whole point of the cover, right? It’s there to draw in the reader.

Finding (affordable) stock photography is a challenge, especially when looking for gay couples.  The few that are available have certainly been used before and the last thing I want to do is repeat what other artists have already done.   

As I write, I always find photo inspiration.  I’m a visually based writer and I love having a picture of my characters as I write. Typically, I have a vague image in my head that solidifies once I find the right photo. 

Finding a stock photo that fit my mental image of Russ and Stephen was impossible, so I went slightly more abstract.  Equals begins with Russ slipping on coffee Stephen spilled.  I was very pleased when I found the silhouetted image of a man with crutches.   It was easy to imagine that man as Russ.  Finding a picture to represent Stephen was a bit more difficult, however.  I wanted one that conveyed confidence and power, without crossing the line into arrogance. 

Although it had more to do with the particular layout of the photos than anything, I discovered I liked positioning Russ picture at the bottom of the cover, and Stephen at the top.  It subtly highlighted the power/income disparity between them. 

For the cover, I began with a blue/green background that had a faint pattern to it.  When I added the character images and put on the text it was still quite bland.  I have a friend who has a great eye for covers and he suggested I include the skyline of Atlanta, where the story is set.  Once I found the right image and overlaid it, it all began to come together.  With a few minor tweaks with effects and some additional blending, I finally felt like it was ready.  I often set covers aside for a few days to be sure I’m still happy with it.  Sometimes what seems great initially doesn’t look as wonderful later.  This one, however, still felt right after a few weeks and I knew I had made the right choice.

When I began to work on the cover for Partners, I knew I wanted there to be continuity between the two covers.  I began with the same blue/green patterned background, but this time I tweaked it until it was more green than blue.  The image I found of men holding hands was not a silhouette, but with a little bit of work, I was able to make it one.  I think it nicely ties the two covers together.  This story is about Russ and Stephen being on equal footing and learning that they can rely on each other.  Having them both at the same level and visually connected was a nice echo of that.  Partners is set in a small town in southern Georgia, and one of the places they visit is the pecan farm Stephen grew up on.  I found a beautiful image of a pecan grove  to use and after playing with filters and effects for a very long time, I finally settled on the image below.  Although there are differences between the two—color, layout, font color—there are many similiarities and I think the two covers make a nice pair. 

Now, the real question is, what on earth am I going to do for the holiday short and book 3??

Author:  Brigham Vaughn

Title: Partners (Equals Book 2)

Previous Book: Equals

Cover Artist: Brigham Vaughn

After a rocky first few months, Stephen Parker and Russ Bishop’s relationship is at a crossroads when the death of Stephen’s father forces them to visit Stephen's hometown in southern Georgia.

Estranged from his family, Stephen must find a way to come to terms with his past and say goodbye to the father whose expectations he could never live up to. The small, conservative town provides its own challenges as Russ realizes providing emotional support is one part of being a true partner for Stephen.

Author Bio:
Brigham Vaughn has always been a voracious reader with her own stories to tell. After many years of abandoned plots, something finally clicked. Now she's eating, sleeping, and breathing writing and is excited to have finally figured out what she wants to be when she grows up. In the little time that isn't spent writing or reading, she loves cooking, yoga, photography, and remodeling her ninety-year-old home. Brigham lives in Michigan with her four cats and an amazing husband who has always been her biggest champion.


After the dishes were done and the kitchen was clean, the three of them sat on the front porch,  Russ beside him on the creaking swing as Miss Esther knitted and told Russ stories about Stephen growing up. “Before you leave I’ll show you the photos I have,” she promised Russ and he enthusiastically agreed. Stephen’s gaze flew to the elderly woman.

“You have them?”

“Sure do,” she said easily, the clack of the needles never pausing. “Your daddy tried to throw them out when your momma passed but I wouldn’t let him. I’ve been hangin’ onto ‘em for you.”

“Oh,” Stephen replied, feeling strangely shaky. He’d thought every memory of his childhood had been tossed out.

“They’re in a box in the blue bedroom,” she said. “You can get them down from the shelf in the closet for me tomorrow.”

“I’d love to see them,” Russ said, his tone eager as he leaned forward. Stephen was less sure of  how he felt. On one hand, he was relieved to know it hadn’t all been destroyed. On the other, he  wasn’t sure how much of his past he could face this weekend. Then Russ’ knee nudged his, their thighs pressing together. As the katydids droned in the background, Stephen felt himself relax, remembering he didn’t have to face it alone.

Tour Stops:

9/19/2014     Prism Book Alliance  http://www.prismbookalliance.com
9/20/2014     GGR Review http://www.ggr-review.com/
9/21/2014     MM Good Book Reviews http://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com/
9/23/2014     Smoocher's Voice http://www.smoochersvoice.com/
9/25/2014     Diverse Reader http://diversereader.blogspot.com/
9/27/2014     Love Bytes Reviews http://lovebytesreviews.com
9/28/2014     The Novel Approach http://thenovelapproachreviews.com/
9/30/2014     Padme’s Library http://padmeslibrary.blogspot.com/
10/1/2014     JP Barnaby http://www.jpbarnaby.com/
10/3/2014     Rainbow Gold Reviews http://rainbowgoldreviews.wordpress.com/


1 commenter at each stop will win their choice of backlist title from Brigham Vaughn (excludes Dr. Feelgood).

In addition one commenter in all of the tour will win a $10 Giftcard from Amazon.  Grand Prize giveaway ends 4 October 2014 @ 11:59pm CDT.  Winner will be drawn by random drawing among all entrants on 5 October.

Must be 18 or older to enter. Void where prohibited.


  1. I'm looing forward to more books in this series and thank you for the Giveaway.


  2. Sounds great. Thank you for sharing the photo that inspired you =)

  3. Have really enjoyed our blog tour - the cover art for this series is awesome! How seriously cool that you did it yourself! lgrant1@san.rr.com

  4. What an interesting post and thank you for sharing the cover design and inspiration, I am also a very visual person and I love book covers, so I really like how these covers tell you about a little bit of the story within and the evolution of their relationship.

    thank you for a chance to win a book of Brigham's :)


Please be respectful of others with your comments. Hate comments will not be tolerated.